JazzTimes - p.115
"The stunning Gottlieb possesses a powerful voice, using it with authority, soaring over the beautifully voiced chorus of four."
Personnel: Rose Ayelet Gottlieb (vocals); Rose Ayelet Gottlieb; Michael Gottlieb, Michael Gottman (vocals); Galeet Dardashti (unknown instrument); Rufus Cappadocia (cello); Michael Winograd (clarinet, bass clarinet); Anat Fort (piano); TaKe Toriyama (drums, percussion); Deanna Neil, Michal Cohen (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Paul Wickliffe.
Recording information: Skyline Productions Studios, NJ.
Author: Rose Ayelet Gottlieb.
Photographer: Robbie Valentine.
Rose Ayelet Gottlieb is a Swedish-born Israeli singer who lives in New York. Her music walks a wonderfully dizzy line between jazz, Sephardic, and klezmer traditions, and Middle Eastern rhythmic influences. The texts on Mayim Rabim come from the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. This cycle reflects the wonderfully sensual and deeply erotic themes found within its rich language. The chapters are from two through eight, and various verses in this gorgeous text are used repetitively, as are they in the Bible itself. Along with Rose Ayelet Gottlieb are Michael Gottlieb, backing vocalist Deanna Neil, and Michal Cohen. The band is comprised of Michael Winograd on clarinet and bass clarinet, Anat Fort on piano, Rufus Cappadocia on cello, and Take Toriyama on drums. A Persian trope is used on two tracks, played by Galeet Dardashti. The set kicks off with hand drums, and Gottlieb's voice backed by Neil's. The piano and cello enter later, and the bass clarinet articulates her melodic statements moving them toward modal jazz. She chants and sings all through the lyric, never above or below it, on the stunning "Tapuah." On "Al Mishkavi," Gottlieb begins a cappella, piano and bass clarinet enter in the complex melody and wind around it as her voice becomes another instrument, underscoring her lyrics with wordless vocals that hover and shimmer with the cello. "Libavtini," with its mournful yet romantic cello and piano lines, introduces us to words sung in Hebrew, first by Michael Gottlieb in his throaty, low rasp: "You have captivated my heart -- My sister, my bride/You have captivated my heart." He is answered by the female chorus accepting of his praises and then the Gottliebs sing in duet "How wonderful is your love -- my sister, my bride/Your love is better than wine." All around them, a Jewish folk melody wanders in and around the voices on piano and cello. The album closes with title cut, it commences in mournful a cappella by Gottlieb, who is answered by Neil before a piano enters with two notes. The women's voices entwine in the next verse, again unaccompanied before the tune fully articulates itself with bells, piano, and a whispering cello. "Who is that rising from the desert/With her head on her lover's shoulders/Under the apple tree I aroused you/There your mother conceived you/There you were born/ Place me as a seal upon your heart/As a seal upon your arm For love is stronger than death....." Tension builds, and builds, and is released slowly and purposefully. The elegance in this music is juxtaposed against the rawness of its sensuality. In short Mayim Rabim is a small wonder, a beautiful gem, bringing one of the more essential Old Testament texts to life in music and song. ~ Thom Jurek